Victoria County History



William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

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'Townships: Whiston', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 348-352. URL: Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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Quitstan, 1245; Wystan, Quystan, 1278; Whystan, Whytstan, Whyghtstan, 1292; Quistan, 1346; Whistan usual, but Whiston occurs as early as 1355.

This township has an area of 1,782½ acres. (fn. 1) It occupies irregular ground south of Prescot, in the very prosaic neighbourhood of coal-mines. The grounds of Halsnead Park, in the south-east, a rather bare, sparsely timbered estate, fill up a little more than one quarter of the whole area of the township. To the west of Halsnead is Ridgate. The rest of the land is laid out in pastures and cultivated fields where potatoes, turnips, and corn are raised, the loamy and gravelly soil seeming very fertile. There are occasional substantial-looking farms. The northern part of the township is bare and has an unfinished appearance, a good deal of small cottage property standing amongst patches of treeless waste ground. The village of Whiston is almost continuous with Prescot. The roads are generally paved with square stones and are not of the smoothest. The geological formation of the western half of the township consists of the coal measures; the eastern moiety, of the lower mottled sandstone of the bunter series, except in the north-eastern corner, where the pebble beds of this series of the new red sandstone formation occur southward as far as Holt.

The western and southern boundaries are formed by two brooks, which unite to flow south through Tarbock. The Prescot and Warrington road, along which run the electric cars, passes through the northern part of the township, and from it two roads spread out, passing through Whiston village, and then to the east and west of Halsnead Park to join the road from Huyton to Cronton. The London and North Western Company's railway from Liverpool to Manchester goes through the centre of the area, and the St. Helens branch through the northern part.

The population in 1901 was 3,430.

Collieries are worked, and form the chief industry. Formerly women as well as men worked in them. (fn. 2) Flower pots are made here. There are also file and tool makers.

Whiston cross stood about a mile and a half southeast of Prescot church; and the stocks were close by it. (fn. 3)

The Whiston Parish Council consists of ten members. The Whiston Rural District Council is composed of representatives of all rural townships in the Prescot Union, and has a sanatorium and an isolation hospital in Whiston, in which is also the workhouse for the Prescot Union.


The earliest record of WHISTON is contained in the survey of 1212, in which it is stated that 'Vivian Gernet gave to Robert Travers four plough-lands and a half by the service of the third part of a knight,' parcel of the fee of one knight which he held as chief forester of the forest of Lancaster. (fn. 4) As Vivian Gernet lived in the time of Henry II, an approximate date for the grant is afforded. (fn. 5) Richard Travers occurs about 1190, (fn. 6) and shortly afterwards Henry Travers was lord of Whiston, and granted to Cockersand Abbey an annual rent of 2s. from the mill. (fn. 7) He was succeeded by his son Adam, who confirmed the gift of his father, (fn. 8) and Adam by his younger brother Richard; the latter in 1252 was holding the four and a half plough-lands in Whiston. (fn. 9)

Richard had two sons—Roger and Henry; the elder succeeded to Whiston, the younger receiving Ridgate from his father, and becoming ancestor of the family of Travers of Ridgate and Hardshaw, which continued down to the beginning of the seventeenth century. In 1284 Roger Travers made complaint that Benedict Gernet, Alan de Halsall, and others had disseised him of the manor of Whiston, except one messuage, and it was decreed that he should recover. (fn. 10)

Roger was still living in 1314, (fn. 11) but his son Robert was in possession in 1324. (fn. 12) He received from William de Dacre a confirmation of the manor of Whiston, (fn. 13) and grants of his as late as 1348 are extant. (fn. 14)

John son of Robert Travers had in 1353 a dispute with the rector of Prescot as to a messuage and acre of land which the latter claimed as belonging to his church; (fn. 15) and there were further disputes in 1369 and 1370. (fn. 16) Early in 1390 he made a general feoffment of his manor of Whiston and lands, (fn. 17) which his feoffees in April, 1394, regranted to John Travers of Whiston and Margaret his wife, with remainder to Richard, son of Thomas Travers and the heirs between him and Cecily his wife, daughter of Thomas de Strangeways. (fn. 18) Richard was probably the grandson of John Travers, and very young at the time; it is not known whether the marriage then arranged ever took place, but in 1408 Richard was contracted to marry Katherine, daughter of Sir John de Bold. (fn. 19) He was still living in 1444. (fn. 20)

John Travers, son of Richard, appears to have succeeded. By his wife Alice he had a son Thomas, who in 1480 sold the manor of Whiston to Richard Bold of Bold, (fn. 21) whose descendants held it throughout the sixteenth century. (fn. 22) About 1600 it was acquired by the Ogle family, who had long before commenced to purchase parts of the Travers lands. (fn. 23)

Ogle of Whiston. Argent, a fesse between three crescents gules.

The Ogles appear in Lancashire in the middle of the fifteenth century as stewards of the manor of Prescot. John Ogle, the earliest known, is said to have been a son of Sir Robert, first Lord Ogle, who died in 1469. (fn. 24) Early in 1472 John Ogle of Prescot purchased lands in Rainhill from John, son and heir of Hugh Woodfall. (fn. 25) Margaret, widow of John Ogle, and Roger their son purchased lands from John Travers, (fn. 26) and the family continued to prosper, becoming possessors of the manors of Whiston and Halsnead, the purchaser being John Ogle. (fn. 27)

John's son and heir Henry, born about 1586, (fn. 28) married in 1610 Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Whitby of Chester, (fn. 29) and had by her a numerous offspring. He died about 1649, (fn. 30) but does not seem to have taken any part in the Civil War. Two of his sons, however, took arms on the king's side. Cuthbert, the eldest, received a commission from the earl of Derby, but soon retired, and in 1646 took the National Covenant in London and compounded for his estates by a fine of £120. (fn. 31) Henry his brother, holding a similar commission, took part in the defence of Lathom House. (fn. 32)

Cuthbert died in 1670, the heir being his son Edward, (fn. 33) whose daughter and eventual heir Elizabeth carried the manor to her husband Jonathan Case, of the Red Hazels in Huyton. (fn. 34) About the beginning of last century the manor was held by Richard Willis of Halsnead, to whose heirs it has descended; but the hall was then in the possession of John Ashton Case, a Liverpool merchant, great-grandson of the above-named Jonathan. (fn. 35)

Richard Travers, as already stated, gave his younger son Henry his land in RIDGATE (fn. 36) in Whiston, which had been granted to him by the hospital of St. John outside the Northgate of Chester at a rent of 12d. (fn. 37) Henry Travers had sons John and Henry, (fn. 38) and the latter apparently a son and successor named John, (fn. 39) contemporary with the John Travers son of Robert, who was lord of Whiston. The descent cannot be traced with certainty. (fn. 40)

At the end of the fifteenth century appears another John, followed by Henry (fn. 41) and Robert early in the next. (fn. 42) About 1560 the last-named was succeeded by his son John, who died in October, 1583, holding the manor of Ridgate of the queen, as of the late dissolved hospital of St. John at Chester, by a rent of 12d., and lands in Whiston, Hardshaw, and Rainford. (fn. 43)

His heir was his son John, (fn. 44) twenty-three years of age, who soon afterwards became implicated in the Babington plot, for which he was executed as a traitor in 1586, his property being forfeited. (fn. 45) William Travers, believed to be a brother, recovered Ridgate and most of the lands held by the father; dying in 1591 he was succeeded by a younger brother, Henry Travers, described as of 'Hardshaw.' (fn. 46) After this Ridgate seems to have passed away to the Bolds and Ogles, together with Whiston. (fn. 47)

About 1285 Henry de Torbock and Ellen his wife granted their land in Ridgate to Burscough Priory. (fn. 48) From the charters it would appear that Ridgate was partly within Tarbock, but later inquisitions state that the Torbocks' land in Ridgate was held of the lord of Whiston. (fn. 49)

At the halmote of the manor held in 1523 a record was made of the bounds, and in 1526 Sir Richard Bold, lord of the manor, was reported to have wrongfully enclosed part of the Copped Holt. (fn. 50)


HALSNEAD (fn. 51) is first mentioned in 1246, when William, son of William Assolfi, and William, Adam, and John, his sons, with others, were convicted of having dispossessed Siward de Derwent and Cecily his wife of an acre belonging to the fourth part of Halsnead. (fn. 52)

Three generations of a family bearing the local name appear next—Adam, Ralph, and Thomas. Adam de Halsnead granted his 'whole vill of Halsnead' to his son Ralph, and Ralph granted it to Richard son of Alan le Norreys. (fn. 53) In 1278 and 1284 Richard le Norreys appeared as plaintiff against Richard Travers and Henry Travers of Whiston, as already stated. (fn. 54) The next step is not clear, but Halsnead passed from Richard's son Alan to Robert le Norreys of Burtonhead, and his son John was in possession from 1324 onwards. (fn. 55) Dying about 1346 John was followed by his son Nicholas, who occurs from time to time down to the end of the reign of Edward III; (fn. 56) he may be the Nicholas le Norreys of Burtonhead whose son succeeded to that manor, but though the Burtonhead family afterwards acquired part of Halsnead, the Wetherbys were the heirs in 1422. (fn. 57) The two families of Wetherby (fn. 58) and Pemberton (fn. 59) remained in possession down to the beginning of the seventeenth century, when the Ogles of Whiston probably acquired the lordship. (fn. 60)

Their tenure did not continue long. In 1684 Thomas Willis, a merchant of Liverpool, purchased Halsnead and settled there. (fn. 61) He had a son Martin, whose children Thomas (fn. 62) and Daniell (fn. 63) dying without issue, Halsnead went to their cousin Thomas, grandson of William Swettenham of Swettenham, by his wife Bertha, daughter of Thomas Willis. (fn. 64) The heir took the name of Willis, but his son Thomas dying without issue in 1788, another cousin of Daniell Willis, by his mother's side, succeeded. This was Ralph Earle, who took the name of Willis. (fn. 65) He died two years later, when his son and heir Richard came into possession and held it till his death in 1837. He was succeeded by his sons Richard, Joseph, and Daniell in turn; the last of these died in 1873, and his son Henry Rodolph D'Anyers Willis, in 1902; the latter's son Richard Atherton D'Anyers Willis, born in 1871, is the present lord of the manors of Whiston and Halsnead. (fn. 66) No courts are held.

Willis of Halsnead. Argent, a fesse between three lions rampant gules; a border ermine.

The Athertons of Halsnead occur frequently in the fifteenth century. (fn. 67)

The freeholders of Whiston in 1600 were John Ogle, James Pemberton of Halsnead, and Peter Wetherby; (fn. 68) in 1628 they were Henry Ogle, James Pemberton, and George Wetherby. (fn. 69) According to the hearth-tax list there were in Whiston in 1666 eighteen houses of three hearths and more; the principal was that of Henry Ogle, with eleven. (fn. 70) The 'Papists' estates' registered in 1717 included those of Henry Case, a house and coal mine; William, son of Robert Case; and William Forrest. (fn. 71) The land tax returns of 1787 show that the principal owners there were Thomas Willis of Low Halsnead, the Case trustees, and Thomas Mackin.

In connexion with the Established Church, St. Nicholas's was built in 1868, succeeding a licensed chapel opened in 1846. (fn. 72) There are chapels for the Wesleyan Methodists and the United Free Methodists, erected in 1832 and 1879 respectively. The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists also have a chapel, built in 1890.


1 1,788, including 8 of inland water; census of 1901. A small portion of Prescot was added in 1894 by a Local Government Board order.
2 Baines, Lancs. Directory, 1824, ii, 707.
3 Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xix, 207.
4 Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 44. The names of the manors are not given, but are considered from other sources to have been Whiston, two plough-lands; Parr, one and a half; and Skelmersdale, one.
5 Ibid. 47, where Robert Travers appears as witness to a charter dated between 1160 and 1170.
6 Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 353.
7 Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 603. The grant was made for the souls of himself and his son Richard. Henry Travers was one of the supervisors of the work on the castle of West Derby in 1201; Lancs. Pipe R. 147; also 350, 355, for other references to him between 1189 and 1208.
8 Cockersand Chartul. ii, 604. His brother Richard is mentioned in this confirmation, which from the names of the witnesses may be dated about 1230. Soon afterwards, a disagreement having arisen, the matter was discussed before judges delegated by the pope, and Adam and his heirs were bound to the payment; ibid. 605.
9 Inq. and Extents, 188, where he is called Richard de Whiston; as Richard Travers he is mentioned again in 1265; ibid. 232. In 1278 Richard Travers and Henry his son were accused of disseising Richard le Norreys of his common of pasture in Whiston; Assize R. 1238, m. 34d.; also m. 35. In a roll of Ogle deeds written in 1602, which has been lent to the editors by the Rev. F. G. Paterson of Prescot, and is in the possession of Messrs. H. Cross & Sons, solicitors, of that town, is a copy of a charter by Richard Travers, granting to Richard son of Robert le Scarseriweige land in Whiston, the bounds of which mention 'the Oldmilford.'
10 Assize R. 1265, m. 5; also R. 1268, m. 13.
Roger, son of Richard Travers, granted to William de Fegherby part of his land in Whiston, called Sutton Cliff and Sourcroft, with common of pasture in the Holt, 'which is common pasture belonging to the vills of Eccleston, Whiston, and Rainhill, and which shall for ever remain common'; Ogle R. as above. Roger also released to Alan le Norreys land in Whiston between the Holt and Churchlee, which had been held by Richard de Prescot of Richard, the grantor's father, at a rent of 12d.; ibid.
11 He occurs as defendant in 1292, juror in 1304, and witness to a charter in 1314; Assize R. 408, m. 36; R. 419; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 52.
12 Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 33b.
He was the son of Roger Travers; De Banc. R. 283, m. 284.
13 Ogle R. as above. The confirmation embraced 'the whole manor' of Whiston, and the advowson of the church of Prescot. William de Dacre died about 1318. The service was a red rose at midsummer. Robert had also the grant of a windmill in Whiston from Edmund de Nevill; Bold D. (Warr.), G. 66.
14 In 1377 Robert Travers granted to Roger de Denton, clerk, Anne his wife, and William their son, land in Whiston; the bounds included Wiglache, the ditch dividing Whiston and Halsnead, and the Oldfield; Bold D. (Warr.), G. 61. In 1348 he gave to Robert, son of Robert de Hurleton lands in Whiston which Richard de Rainhill and others held of him, for a rent of a rose; it would seem that his daughter Margaret was to marry the younger Hurleton; ibid. G. 60.
15 Assize R. 435, m. 6 d.; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 3, m. iij.
16 De Banco R. 433, m. 263; 438, m. 382. As there was at the same time another John Travers, of Whiston or Ridgate, there is some difficulty as to identification occasionally. Thomas de Lathom, who died in 1383, held Branderth in Whiston of John Travers; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. ii, n. 7.
17 It included his manor of Whiston, and all other lands, with the homages, rents, and services of William Daniell, John de Halsnead, John de Standish, Richard de Aughton, and others; Ogle R. as above.
18 Bold D. (Warr.), G. 53.
19 Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 202b, n. 66.
20 In June, 1438, there was an arbitration between Richard Praty, rector of Prescot, and Richard Travers touching lands called the Pirwall; it went against the rector; Bold D. (Warr.), G. 62. In 1443–4 Richard Travers and John his son surrendered Whiston mill, in Aughton's lands, to Thomas Boteler, lord of Warrington; ibid. G. 58.
21 Bold D. (Warr.), G. 64. The manor of Whiston and lands there were held of the lord of Dacre by fealty and answering for him at the court of West Derby. A grant, in connexion with the sale, made by Thomas son and heir of John Travers, mentions the Barfurlong, Kilngrove, Gubbie Croft, Copped Holt, Spital Meadow, &c., some of them being held by Alice, the grantor's mother, as jointure. There were free rents of 4s. payable by Lord Stanley for Akilshaw House, 16d. by Nicholas Aughton for Aughton Delf, 12d. from John Bellerby for Tottill House, and various others, the tenants' names including John Blundell, John Standish, James Ellom, Nicholas Harrington of Huyton, John Garnett, Thomas Atherton of Bickerstath, Roger Ogle, and Thomas Lathom. The sale appears to have been concluded by a fine in Aug. 1482. See Ogle R.
22 This appears from the inquisitions of several of the tenants; e.g. of Thomas Atherton, taken in 1515, and of Percival Harrington, taken in 1535–6; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, n. 68; viii, n. 41. On the other hand those of the Lathoms of Wolfall in Huyton declare their lands in Whiston to be held of Thomas Travers or his heirs, as late as 1547; ibid. vii, n. 6; ix, n. 10.
That after the death of Richard Bold in 1559 says that Whiston was held by him of the heir of Thomas Dacre, Lord Dacre, by the rent of a red rose; ibid. xi, n. 63. The last Thomas Lord Dacre had died in 1525. This was Dacre of the North, heir male of the Foresters. On the other hand Whiston was said to be held by Richard Bold of Lord Dacre of the South; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 21.
23 The manor appears to have been sold by Sir Thomas Bold to John Ogle about 1608, though it is not mentioned in the list of his possessions in 1613; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 32; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (same soc.), i, 254. Henry Ogle was lord of Whiston in 1619; ibid. ii, 140.
24 John Ogle and Katherine his wife in 1457 purchased lands in Upton and in Widnes from Robert de Ditton, with reversion of those in the tenure of Cecily widow of William de Ditton; Duchy of Lanc. Ct. R. bdle. 5, n. 69. The descent from Lord Ogle is supported by the fact that two deeds of his family appear among the Ogle of Whiston deeds in Harl. MS. 2042, fol. 79.
25 Ibid.
26 Ibid.; a deed of confirmation, dated 1506, by which Thomas son and heir of John Travers confirmed the sales of certain messuages, lands, and services in Whiston made by his father and himself to Margaret relict of John Ogle, and to Roger son and heir of the latter. This is the last mention of the main line of Travers of Whiston. The deed just quoted is followed (loc. cit.) by another, dated 1515, by which John Ogle of Prescot, probably the son of Roger, enfeoffed Sir William Leyland, Humphrey Ogle, M.A., and William Ogle, chaplain, of all his lands in England. This Humphrey Ogle, perhaps an uncle, was afterwards a prebendary of Hereford and benefactor of Brasenose College, Oxford, founding two scholarships, with preference to candidates from Prescot. William Ogle was a brother of John; he was rector of Credenhill in 1536; L. and P. Hen. VIII, x, 532. The will of John Ogle was proved in 1525; he desired to be buried in Prescot church, bequeathed his gold seal to his son and heir John, mentioned his daughters Alice, Margaret, Anne, and Maud, his brother William, and his kinsman Sir William Leyland; Wills (Chet. Soc. New Ser.), i, 224.
The inquisition taken in 1563 shows that John Ogle had held lands in Whiston of Richard Bold by the rent of a rose, in Sutton of William Holland, and in Huyton and Roby of John Harrington, Nicholas Tyldesley, and the earl of Derby; Edward Ogle, twenty-one years of age, was his son and heir; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, n. 42. Edward Ogle died in Dec. 1567, leaving a son and heir John, only nine years of age; ibid. xi, n. 23.
27 The above John Ogle, son of Edward, was the purchaser. In a fine of 1609 Thomas Brooke and John Ogle appeared as plaintiffs and Sir Thomas Bold and Bridget his wife as deforciants of the manor of Whiston; the sale must have taken place about this time; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 75, m. 83.
In 1590 John Ogle was among the 'comers to church but no communicants'; Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 246 (quoting Dom. Eliz. ccxxxv, n. 4). With him begins the pedigree in Dugdale's Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 223. He was living in 1610, when his son's marriage settlement was made, but dead in 1619.
28 Henry matriculated at Oxford (Brasenose Coll.) in 1603, aged sixteen; Foster, Alumni Oxon.
29 Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 32.
30 Visit. loc. cit.
31 Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iv, 236; he had in Whiston a messuage and lands; also a windmill and watermill. He was probably the 'Master Ogle' who attended Lord Strange in the attempt to seize Manchester in 1642; Civil War Tracts (Chet. Soc.), 51.
32 Henry had fought at Edgehill, where he was taken prisoner; ibid. 169, 178, 184.
33 Cuthbert Ogle was buried 10 Sept. 1670, at Prescot; administration was granted to his son Edward in 1673. At this point there is an error in Dugdale's Visit. as printed. The children of Cuthbert Ogle are given as Cuthbert, aged eighteen; Richard, aged fourteen; and Elizabeth. From the Prescot registers it appears that out of several sons two— Cuthbert and Edward—were surviving in 1664, and that Edward, unnamed by Dugdale, was baptized in 1645, and therefore older than Cuthbert. He married Margaret daughter of Thomas Preston of Holker in Cartmel, and had a son Cuthbert, described as 'of Chester,' baptized in 1673 and buried in 1709, and two daughters, Catherine and Elizabeth, baptized in 1674 and 1675. His wife died shortly after the birth of the last child, who proved to be the heir. Cuthbert Ogle entered St. John's Coll., Cam., in 1692; Admissions, ii, 125. Edward Ogle was buried 30 Dec. 1691, and his will proved in the following year.
34 A Jonathan Case, aged eleven, appears as eldest son of John Case of Huyton in the pedigree in Dugdale's Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 70. Gregson (Fragments, 176) makes the Jonathan who married Elizabeth Ogle to be a generation later. A pedigree of the family may be seen in Gregson, loc. cit. In 1744–5 a settlement of the manor of Whiston, &c. was made by Thomas Case son of Jonathan and Margaret his wife, in conjunction with their son Jonathan; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 332, m. 158.
35 Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 719.
36 The older spelling was usually Rudgate; but Ryddegate occurs in 1332.
37 Ogle R. as above. Henry Travers was in 1292 non-suited in a complaint of novel disseisin against Roger Travers; Assize R. 408, m. 36.
38 John son of Henry Travers brought a suit against his father as early as 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 36. Henry son of Henry Travers occurs in 1356; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 5, m. 25.
39 John son of Henry Travers in 1368 claimed certain lands held by John Hauke and Clemency his wife; De Banc. R. 432, m. 68. The descent suggested in the text as most probable must not be taken as certain.
In 1386 John Travers of Whiston had the king's protection on proceeding to Ireland in the retinue of Sir John de Stanley; Cal. of Pat. 1385–9, p. 156.
40 John, William, and Henry Travers are mentioned early in the fifteenth century. Alan de Ditton in 1425–6 entered into a bond with William Travers of Ridgate concerning the manor of Hardshaw, which he was not to hold longer than twelve years from the death of John the father of William; Henry son of William was a party; Blundell of Crosby D. K. 64. Two years later Henry Blundell and Alan de Ditton released to William Travers of Whiston, son and heir of John Travers of Hardshaw, all the messuages and lands they held by the feoffment of John Travers; ibid. K. 54.
41 See the account of Hardshaw in Windle. A free rent of 3d. from John Travers of Ridgate is mentioned in the above-named grant by Thomas Travers in 1480.
42 Robert Travers of Whiston, Maud his wife, and John his son and heir apparent, occur between 1549 and 1557; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13, m. 25; 15, m. 46; 19, m. 83.
43 Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, n. 65; the other land in Whiston was held of Richard Bold, by the rent of 3d. John Travers was in possession of lands in Hardshaw, Whiston, and Rainford in 1569; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 31, m. 50.
44 John Travers, apparently the younger, was about 1583 involved in disputes with Richard Bold as to the exact tenure of Ridgate. The latter asserted that John Travers of Hardshaw held certain lands of him in his manor of Whiston by homage, fealty, escuage, and suit of court; but, having casually become possessed of certain court rolls and writings, had refused to do any service, and the other free tenants had also begun to withdraw. John Travers, in his reply, repeated the statements as to the tenure given above from the inquisition; to which Richard Bold answered that it was no manor at all, but a freehold, and had never been held by the Hospital of St. John of Chester; Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Eliz. cxxviii, B. 18; cxxv, B. 34; cx, B. 23.
The inquisition after the death of William Travers repeated the disputed statement as to the tenure from the Hospital, from which it may be inferred that Richard Bold lost the day. On the other hand, on the Ogle roll is a decision by the Chancellor affirming the right of Richard Bold as lord of Whiston.
45 A curiously bitter account of Travers' behaviour at his execution is given by a spectator. 'When he had ascended the ladder he said "he was never guilty of any treason in his life," ' though the others made a formal acknowledgement of guilt. He gave not the slightest attention to the political and religious arguments addressed to him, only saying, 'I die a true Catholic, and do believe all that the true Catholic Church doth.' 'He hanged in all men's sight till he was dead, and when the hangman had his heart in his hand it leapt and panted. Even thus concluded the last part of this obstinate fellow, who had fully purposed, as it was to be conjectured, to live a seditious person, and resolute to die a papistical traitor'; Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 617.
46 Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p. m. xvi, n. 35. Henry Travers was aged seventeen. A settlement had been made in August, 1589; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 51, m. 81.
47 There was a recovery of the manor of Ridgate in 1599; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 284, m. 1. James Pemberton and Henry Travers were called to warrant.
48 This gift was confirmed by Henry de Lacy, with the proviso that one leper within the lordship of Widnes should be maintained by the canons, that mass should be said there at Easter, and that the names of himself and his wife should be inserted in their martyrology and in the canon; Dugdale, Mon. vi, 460; Burscough Reg. fol. 56 d.
In the Escheator's Accounts, 1362–64 (Exch. L.T.R. R. 5, m. 7), is the following entry: 'One plough-land in Tarbock which a progenitor of the king's gave to uphold a chapel for the celebration of divine service in the chapel of Ridgate in the said vill of Tarbock for the souls of the kings of England; withdrawn many years. 30s. yearly value. Delivered 8 July, 1364, to Sir William Carles the custody of the said plough-land to answer thereof to the king if it be considered that the issue belonged to the king'; Orig. 38 Edw. III. See the account of Tarbock.
49 The inquisition taken in 1505 states that Sir Henry Torbock's messuage and land in Ridgate next Prescot had been held of Henry Travers in socage by fealty and the yearly rent of 12d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p. m. iii, n. 71.
50 On the Ogle R. Halsmeadows was on the north or Prescot side of the boundary, and Cockshoot on the south or Whiston side; Chaps Clough, Church Lees, and Shea Brook are also named. Copped Holt was on the border of Eccleston.
51 Halsnade, 1246.
52 Assize R. 404, m. 3 d. 7; two versions of the same charge; in one the wife is called Juliana.
53 These grants are upon the Ogle R. The bounds are thus given in the earlier deed: Beginning on the east at the Wiggalache, which was the boundary between Halsnead and Rainhill, and following the syke to Longleigh Brook in the south; along this to the Spital House in the west, and following into the Deep Clough as far as the Casselache in the north; thence by the Hecseptese Gate to the cross upon the waste, and so to the starting point. The second grant mentions Frieny Hill as one of the boundaries on the west. Both expressly mention its dependence upon the 'heirs of Whiston.'
Ralph de Halsnead was plaintiff in 1283; De Banc. R. 49, m. 22d.
Thomas son of Ralph de Halsnead appears in 1304; Coram Rege R. 178, m. 20 d. In 1317 and later Emma, widow of John de Halsnead, claimed dower in Whiston from Henry son of John de Molyneux, and Thomas son of Ralph de Halsnead; De Banc. R. 220, m. 10; 221, m. 9; &c.
54 Assize R. 1238, m. 34 d. 35; 1268, m. 19 d.
55 In 1346 Alice, as daughter and heir of Alan, son of Richard le Norreys, claimed a messuage and two plough-lands; her story was that John son of Robert le Norreys had entry only by demise of Robert, who had disseised her father Alan. The defendant called Alan le Norreys of Daresbury to warrant him. 'Halsnead' is not named, the estate being described as a messuage and two plough-lands in Whiston; De Banc. R. 346, m. 22; 348, m. 14 d. The 'plough-land' of this time does not necessarily correspond with the ancient assessment.
The rents and services of William Daniell and John de Halsnead are mentioned in a feoffment by John Travers in 1390, on the Ogle R.
John le Norreys in 1324 brought a suit of novel disseisin against Henry son of John de Molyneux (named in a previous note), but did not proceed with it; Assize R. 426, m. 1 d. Later, Alice, widow of Adam del Grange, claimed from John le Norreys of Halsnead an acre of land; De Banco R. 259, m. 22.
56 Nicholas le Norreys carried on the suit with Alice, daughter of Alan; De Banc. R. 350, m. 20. As son and heir of John, Nicholas in 1351 and 1352 demanded certain lands from Margery de Bold, Master Henry de Rixton having granted them to his father John and his wife Alice in the time of Edw. II; the case was deferred, Richard de Bold, the heir, being still a minor; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 1, m. iiij; 2, m. vij. The same or a later Nicholas le Norreys of Halsnead was collector of a subsidy in 1384; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. p. 523.
57 At the end of June, 1422, William Daniell of Daresbury gave Sir John de Stanley the custody of all the lands in Halsnead, sometime belonging to Nicholas le Norreys of Halsnead, 'which he held in chief of the said William Daniell,' in whose hands they were by reason of the minority of Thomas, son of Thomas de Wetherby, cousin and heir of Nicholas, together with the marriage of Thomas; Ancient D. P.R.O. A 5631. This is a second illustration of the dependence of Halsnead upon Daresbury and Sutton.
58 Very little is known of the Wetherbys beyond their attachment to the Roman Catholic faith at the Reformation. Thomas Wetherby paid a free rent of 6½d. to the lord of Whiston in 1480; Ogle R. Isabel, daughter of Piers Wetherby of Halsnead, married Thomas Ditchfield of Ditton at the end of the fifteenth century; Visit. of 1567 (Chet. Soc.), p. 123.
Peter Wetherby appears on the list of gentry of the hundred made about 1512. The will of Thomas Wetherby, of Halsnead and St. Gregory's by St. Paul's, London, 1537, is at Somerset House (5 Dyngeley). In 1590 Peter Wetherby, one of the 'gentlemen of the better sort,' was a recusant and indicted thereof; in 1593 the sheriff could not find him; Gibson, Lydiate Hall, p. 246, 261 (quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. ccxxxv, n. 4, and ccxxxiii). His will was proved in 1620. The lands of Peter Wetherby, recusant, were in 1623 granted to Anthony Croston and others; Pat. 21 Jas. I, 27 July. George Wetherby, as a convicted recusant, paid double to the subsidy of 1628; Norris D. (B.M.).
59 Some account of the Pembertons will be found under Burtonhead in Sutton. John Pemberton, according to the Ogle R. in 1480 paid a rent of 1½d. to Thomas Travers of Whiston; with the 6½d. from Thomas Wetherby the whole service was 8d. A dispute as to the succession took place in 1472 between John Pemberton and Thomas Halliwell of Wrightington; from other deeds it appears that one or both were heirs of William de Tunley, whose son William married Emmota, daughter of Simon de Gorsuch, in 1403; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 946–9.
In 1502 James, son and heir of John Pemberton, complained that whereas his father had been seised of the manor of Halsnead and other lands and tenements in Whiston, a certain Geoffrey Molyneux and his companions had taken possession. At the inquiry ordered by the king in his 'great marvel and displeasure,' James Wetherby, gentleman, 'dwelling next to the said manor,' gave evidence. In the result James Pemberton recovered possession; Duchy Pleadings (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 14–16. James Pemberton of Halsnead was reckoned among the gentry in 1512. George Pemberton, who followed, died about 1558; his son James held the manors of Halsnead and Burtonhead in 1557–8; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 19, m. 13.
The Pemberton and Wetherby families had various disputes in the sixteenth century, of which the following summary may be given from the Duchy Pleadings. George Pemberton, being seised of a capital messuage in Whiston called Halsnead, and of various other messuages and lands in Sutton, Bedford, and Whiston, arranged for the succession by fine (Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 15, m. 84), his wife Isabel to have it after him for her life. But in June, 1554, his son and heir James entered the house, stole certain deeds from a locked chest, and afterwards, with the aid of his wife Alice, Katherine Standish, and other riotous persons, so molested the father that he could not obtain any rents or profits; Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Phil. and Mary, xxxiv, P. 4. In a later complaint James Pemberton, George Wetherby, and Isabel Pemberton (then a widow), are said to have ousted Hamlet Ditchfield and George Lathom, the father's feoffees; ibid. Eliz. liv, D. 7.
George Wetherby, who was in possession in 1566 (Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 27, n. 174), died in or before 1568, leaving as his heir a natural son, Peter Wetherby, aged seven, whose guardian was Matthew Travers; Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Eliz. lxxvii, W. 6. Eleven years later James Pemberton and Peter Wetherby being seised of the several capital messuages or manor houses in Halsnead and pasture called 'Halsnead Heath,' were disturbed by Thomas Blundell and others, who had casually obtained possession of certain deeds; ibid. Eliz. cxiii, P. 4. A little later Peter Wetherby complained that James Pemberton and James his son and heir withheld an annual rent of 33s. 4d. due to him from lands in Halsnead and Whiston occupied by the elder James; ibid. Eliz. cxix, W. 8; cxxvii, A. 1. This rent had in 1511 been sold by James Pemberton and Elizabeth his wife to Richard Molyneux, and was in 1567 re-sold by John Molyneux to George Wetherby; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdles. 11, m. 242; 29, m. 144.
A settlement of lands in Whiston and Halsnead was made in 1585 by James Pemberton and Alice his wife, and James, the son and heir apparent, and Katherine his wife; ibid. bdle. 47, m. 124, 117. The younger James had a son James, whose wife was Margaret; ibid. bdle. 58, m. 211.
James Pemberton and George Wetherby, son of Peter, suffered sequestration and forfeiture, under the rule of the Parliament; George's son Thomas petitioned for restoration in 1653; Cal. Com. for Comp. iii, 1952; v, 3213; iv, 2861, 3142; and Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 43, 44. James Pemberton's estates were sold to John Fullerton of London; he remonstrated against being put in the additional Act for Sale, but in vain, for his sequestration was for recusancy as well as delinquency. Thomas Wetherby's petition was successful.
60 Edward Orme, who died at Tarbock 1 January, 1631–2, held land in Whiston and in Halsnead, in each case of Henry Ogle; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p. m. xxix, 38. Edward, his son and heir, was eighteen years of age in 1636.
61 Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), vi, 72; see Burke, Commoners, ii, 374. Thomas Willis's son Martin was reckoned among the gentlemen of Huyton in 1689; Kenyon MSS. 194. Martin married Ellen daughter of William Daniell, originally D'Anyers, of Over Tabley, who had been a colonel in the Parliamentary forces in the Civil War; his elder son Thomas died in 1727; the younger, Daniell, lived until 1763, having arranged the succession. Their house at Halsnead was called the Red Hall; Char. Rep. of 1828. A plate of Chester in Browne Willis's Cathedrals states that it had been given by 'Thomas Willis of Wigan, the author's only Willis cousin.' Some letters from this Thomas to the antiquary are printed in Local Gleanings, Lancs. and Ches. i, 62, 71; he knew little of his ancestry, but desired a confirmation of the arms he used.
62 In 1728 administration of the estate of Thomas Willis of Liverpool was granted to Daniell Willis, brother and next of kin.
63 By his will, 1758, Daniell Willis left his estates in Prescot, Huyton, Standish, Bolton, Eccles, Wigan, Wigan Woodhouses, and Ireland, under different limitations, to kinsmen: Thomas Swettenham of Swettenham, esq., Roger Mainwaring of Church Minshull, William Heyes son of Robert Heyes (late collector of excise at Northwich) by Elizabeth his wife; Willis Martin, only son of Edward Martin of the General Post Office in Dublin; and Ralph, Thomas, and William Earle. The owner of Halsnead was to take the name of Willis. From a note by Mr. W. F. Irvine.
64 Ormerod, Ches. (ed. Helsby), iii, 74.
65 Elizabeth, daughter of William Daniell, had married Ralph Finch of Chester; their daughter Mary married John Earle of Liverpool, as his second wife, and Roger Earle was their son; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), vi, 30–39, 72, 74. He was a merchant in Liverpool, and mayor in 1769; in politics a Whig.
66 This account of the family has been taken from the paper already quoted in Trans. Hist. Soc. and from Burke's Landed Gentry.
67 There are several charges against Thomas Atherton of Halsnead the elder, called also the coroner, and Thomas Atherton the younger, for debt, waylaying and defaults, between 1443 and 1446; Pal. of Lanc. Plea. R. 8, m. 4, &c. Thomas Atherton of Prescot, executor of the will of Edward Atherton, one of the chaplains of St. Stephen's, Westminster, had absolution for contumacy in 1459–60; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 229b.
68 Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 239, 242. In 1619 George Georgeson alias Dam was found to be holding lands in Whiston of Henry Ogle; the Irelands and Bolds were also freeholders; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (same soc.), ii, 139.
69 Norris D. (B.M.).
70 Lay Subs. 250–9.
71 Estcourt and Payne, Eng. Cath. Nonjurors, 120, 121, 119.
72 For the district see Lond. Gaz. 22 June, 1869. The vicar of Prescot is patron.